SoCal is chockablock with hybrid autos (hello, Prius!) thanks to their fuel efficiency, reduced greenhouse-gas emissions and, of course, their carpool-lane access. But starting this month, hybrid vehicles with solo drivers are banished from HOV lanes in favor of even more efficient autos. That's right: Go electric or get out of the fast lane.
Ready to take a spin? Palo Alto-based Tesla makes a snazzy two-seater that goes 245 miles on a charge, surges zero to 60 miles per hour in 3.7 seconds and costs $109,000. (A sedan for half the price goes on sale next year.) Sign up online for a test drive or stop by the Santa Monica dealership.
The Nissan Leaf is cheaper ($35,200), has shorter range (100 miles a charge) and is harder to come by. For now, it's only available in seven states (including California), and Nissan is selling to its wait-listed customers first (however, a friend paid a $3,000 premium to jump the line). Sign up online to test-drive, or call your closest Nissan dealer.
If you prefer a smaller seat in the electric boogaloo, then Hollywood Electrics' Native Z6 scooter is your ride. Sure, it only goes 45 miles on a charge and tops out at 50 miles per hour, but we like it for neighborhood jaunts. Sometimes the carpool lane can wait.